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Axminster Hobby Series Planer ThicknesserSo you’ve just gone and bought a new planer thicknesser! Congratulations, they really are great bits of kit and something that if treated properly will aid the workshop for years to come.

Whether it’s second hand or brand new it’s always best to get the machine set up correctly. We’re not talking assembly here, we’re talking about those small things that sometimes people skip but really shouldn’t. In the long run, this will save time and money, as well as improving accuracy and more importantly, make it safe to use.

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The Clean Down

Most planer thicknessers will have some cast iron parts, namely the tables and fence. Upon opening, you will most likely come across these parts being smothered in grease or a protective wax. It’s nothing to turn your nose up at, it’s just there to stop these parts rusting.

Now for the tedious part of removing this. It’s no good just grabbing some blue roll and trying to remove it that way, it won’t work. Using a product such as Liberon Wax & Polish Remover with a lint free cloth is the way to go.

Once cleaned down, you should cover all surfaces where the wood will pass with a specially formulated wax. This will not only prevent rust but also help the wood easily slide across the surface.

Top Tip!

For upkeep, this process should be repeated often to keep the tables clean and maintain their rust free finish.

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The Fence

An integral part of any planer thicknesser, there are two things you need to set up with your fence before you can begin:

Setting the fence to 90 degrees

This is done with a 90 degree square being placed against the outfeed table and fence. If it’s not square, adjustment can usually be found at the rear of the fence assembly.


Checking the fence is parallel to the table

Something that is often forgotten but shouldn’t be, using a precision ruler, check the distance between the fence on the infeed and outfeed tables to see if they are the same distance apart.

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The Planer Knives

Unless you have purchased yourself a new spiral cutter planer thicknesser, where the TCT cutters are already set, this is something you have to do. If you don’t get this right you can kiss goodbye to accurate planing and thicknessing.

Often considered an extremely tedious and long winded task, setting and resetting the knives is not that bad. It would however, be a lengthy explanation going through the whole process. Fortunately here is a short video to help you set your planer knives correctly.


Planer blade setting jig and cutter block set up:

Planer blade setting jig and cutter block set up

Top Tip!

Please make sure that the machine is disconnected from the mains before doing this.

Going forward

Now that your planer thicknesser is set up and ready to go, you need to consider future maintenance, to keep it performing as well as it does now.

We have put together a daily, weekly and monthly checklist, to help you do just that.

Planer Thicknesser Maintenance


This is just a quick guide into the setting up of a planer thicknesser, where it’s old or new, big or small, the principles will generally be the same. We hope that it’s helped you get your machine ready for use. Watch this space as there will be more setting up machine articles coming soon.

Axminster Trade Series Planer Thicknesser

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  • Rob Stoakley

    That works well Mark, provided you have a decent blade setting jig supplied with the machine…the Jet 260 didn’t and was a complete pain in the arris to set up. However, the Planer Blade Vernier Setting Jig (700360) is a fantastic bit of kit and takes all the guesswork out of setting the them. Three new blades in the Jet 260 block can now be installed and precisely set in under ten minutes.

    • Mark Smale

      Hi Rob, yes you are correct. Fortunately the AH106 comes with a very good setting jig so we didn’t have this problem. I definitely agree with the Planer Blade Vernier Setting Jig being a fantastic accessory with your planer thicknesser and well worth the investment in time saved alone.

  • Martin

    Unbelievably bad practice in the blade setting video! I used to do it like that until the spanner slipped and I slashed my finger on the fresh blade. At least wear leather gloves and ensure there is a scrap of timber between
    hand and blade

    • Mark Smale

      Hi Martin,
      Thanks for your comment.
      There are certainly some who would say that you need gloves for this process and we could never object to that. We do, however believe that it also comes down to personal preference. The person who we had in the video is a seasoned machinist, who has done this task many times and thinks that gloves aren’t a necessity and actually can get in the way when working. Which is why he wasn’t wearing them.
      Of course the blades are extremely sharp, so we would always recommend caution at all times especially when not wearing gloves.

      Thanks again,
      Mark

      • Rob Stoakley

        I have to agree with you Mark on this one. Gloves will just get in the way and provided caution is exercised, no harm will come. I’ve been sorting out planer blades on all sorts of machines since the early 80’s and have never cut myself. THE most important safety feature was shown right at the beginning of the clip…always disconnect the machine from the electrickery!

  • steven

    What about setting up the outfeed table? For example, to overcome that common problem of sniping…

    • Mark Smale

      Hi Steven,
      Thank you for your question.
      We would expect new machines to be set correctly out of the box, and the machine used here has it’s setting pinned to prevent inadvertent adjustment. Also, some machines do not have any adjustment, they are machined to be “correct” and not require any additional setting. However, this is not always done properly on some machines and is difficult to eradicate. If your machine has outfeed table adjustment, you will need to understand what effect any adjustment you make has on the finish of your work.
      If you need to re-set the machine because the tables are not correctly adjusted you should arm yourself with a straight edge that you can trust is actually straight. The straight edge should also be at least 1.5 times as long as one table, preferably 2 times. This will allow you to properly reference each table to the other. Another tip is to never lift or maneuver a planer/thicknesser using the tables.

      I hope this helps.
      Thanks,
      Mark

  • Bertram Sømme

    there are many ways of setting up planer blades – for this type of machine ive made a mark on the bearing housings, then as long as the blades are lined up with them just let the blade butt up against a piece of wood held over the gap between the 2 beds then tighten up – the blades are now parallel with the beds. if you have adjustment on both beds you can simply drop the beds to the right height. I note on this machine it looks like you can adjust both beds for parallel easily – looks like this machine needs it.
    Special machine wax – i wonder what machinists used before?

  • Craig Hastie

    I love the fact that you’re so active in your own discussion thread, talking to each other.

  • Daniel

    I’ve just received my AT107 PT planer. What is the preferred way of plugging it into the mains. It has a blue plug mains connected that I’m not set up for. Thanks.

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